Nearly 100 residents from Long Beach’s Lakewood Village neighborhood gathered at Pan American Park Sunday afternoon to hear news on a recent home invasion that left one of their own severely injured.
The victim, a woman in her early 50s and a longtime Long Beach resident, sustained major trauma—with most of her injuries centered around her face and hands—when she encountered a burglary suspect inside her home on Friday, November 20, said Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) East Division Cmdr. Liz Griffin.
The incident is believed to have taken place sometime between 10:30AM and 11:00AM on the 5100 block of Centralia Street, though it is unknown how long the victim had been passed out before she was able to call 911 for help at about 10:55AM.
Authorities believe that a man knocked on the victim’s front door and noticed nobody answered, so he found his way in the back through an open window. He then pulled out the screen and entered the home, Griffin told residents.
Most likely surprised that she was home, the suspect then became violent with her, she said, severely beating her with an unspecified object from the house used as a weapon.
“In most cases like this, property crime suspects do not get violent,” Griffin said. “They usually run when they run into somebody, but we do have some that will get violent and they will fight and they will hurt you.”
The lone suspect then proceeded to ransack her home, stealing items such as jewelry and personal information—things that can sell fast, Griffin said. Authorities believe he then fled on foot.
Due to the severity of her injuries, the victim does not remember anything about the incident nor the suspect. It is unknown whether she was hit from behind.
Griffin did say investigators were able to locate bloody footprints and are looking to see if this incident is connected to other cases in the city. A similar incident happened in the Belmont Shore area and one recently took place in the North Division.
During the event, the victim’s boyfriend briefly spoke to the crowd, thanking them for their well-wishes and urging them to set up a more effective contact system in case of an emergency.
“The important lesson we learned in the midst of all this is that everybody has all their information in here,” he said while holding up a cell phone. “When this is locked, they can't call.”
The boyfriend noted that he was not notified of the incident until almost 8:00PM that night, when the victim was coherent enough to unlock her phone.
“These are useless in an emergency,” he said. “Carry something on your person with contact information.”
Though he did not mention specifics about the victim’s injuries, he did say she was getting better every day but expected a long recovery period.
“Things like that that happen are true tragedies,” said Councilwoman Stacy Mungo during the meeting. "There is no better protection than you all knowing each other. The only way we can stop people, especially on the border of our city, from coming in and taking advantage of us is by us knowing each and every person that belongs on our street."
This was the first “front lawn” meeting to ever take place in the Lakewood Village, an informal gathering typically held in reaction to a major crime event.
At the conclusion of the event, Griffin also recommended tips to help residents prevent residential burglaries and addressed other concerns, in the end offering the popular tip, “if you see something, say something.”
“If it looks really weird and it sends those hairs up in the back of your neck, just call us,” Griffin said.
Anyone with information is asked to call LBPD Robbery Detail at 562.570.7464.
All photos by Stephanie Rivera.